Quick Start Film List: Ages 11-14

The Martian
The Martian

Just signed up to run your first film club and wondering what on earth to show to your students? Get your Into Film journey started with this hand-picked selection of 20 brilliant titles, selected by members of our programming team. From sure-fire modern crowd-pleasers, to slightly more unusual fare, as well as a host of brilliant short films, this selection aimed specifically at audiences aged between 11 and 14 - provides a fantastic snapshot of the range of titles on offer through the Into Film catalogue. At Into Film, we aim to encourage young people to explore the rich world of film in all its forms. We hope this list will inspire you to make your own choices of rich, challenging and diverse fare for students to watch, enjoy and discuss. 

Persepolis

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration91 mins

Persepolis(2007)

Adapted from Marjane Satrapi's brilliantly funny autobiographical graphic novel about a rebellious young girl's experience of revolutionary Iran.

This beautiful animation offers a spirited insight into the experience of growing up in a politically volatile country, where the goalposts for what’s expected of women are constantly changing. Not only a document of a key period in Iran's history, this is also a funny and honest coming of age tale that is full of visual and emotional impact.

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Spirited Away

CertPG

Age group7+

Duration125 mins

Spirited Away(2001)

Extraordinary, Oscar-winning fantasy animated film from Japan following the down-the-rabbit-hole adventures of a young girl named Chihiro.

One of the most beloved and enchanting animations ever made, this is the ideal entry point for any newcomers to the magical world of Studio Ghibli. The beautiful images continue to astound, but it is the storytelling that truly ignites the imaginations of all who experience it.

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The Martian

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration135 mins

The Martian(2015)

Abandoned survivor story set in space, based on a best-selling novel.

With an infectious love of science and its mechanics, this hugely entertaining crowd-pleaser is steeped in scientific accuracy and is perhaps the greatest film about the red planet ever made. The central character of Mark Watney also offers a refreshing alternative to the plethora of superheroes offered up as role models.

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Suffragette

Cert12

Age group11–16

Duration106 mins

Suffragette(2015)

A powerful depiction of the rise of the Suffragist movement and some of the British women involved.

Remarkably, it took until 2015 for film to tackle the extraordinary account of the suffragist movement in 20th century Britain. Focusing around a group of working-class activists, rather than the campaign’s better-known figures, Sarah Gavron’s film is a rallying cry to continue the fight for equality around the world, and sincere telling of a vital story.

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In The Heat of the Night

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration102 mins

In The Heat of the Night(1967)

In the US south in the 60s, just after the passing of the Civil Rights Act, a black police officer is arrested for a prominent white citizen's murder.

Film can be an incredibly powerful medium for introducing young audiences to social history. This drama about a culture of racism in the deep south of America remains shocking and depressingly topical, but is also a brilliantly tense thriller and riveting drama, complete with an unforgettable performance from Sidney Poitier.

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Jaws

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration124 mins

Jaws(1975)

This 1975 film about an enormous great white shark terrorising the locals of a US seaside resort made many who saw it too scared to go swimming!

What to say about the film that ushered in the culture of the American blockbuster and made director Steven Spielberg a household name? What’s truly brilliant about Jaws is not the shark itself, but how the film weaves dense and complex characterisation in with the genuine scares, resulting in a film oft-imitated, but never bettered.

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The Truman Show

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration99 mins

The Truman Show(1998)

Jim Carrey stars in this fascinating, existential satire about a man who discovers his whole life is a reality TV show.

It’s remarkable to think that Jim Carrey’s astonishing reality-television satire arrived in cinemas before the likes of Big Brother emerged to dominate the schedules. With a heartbreaking central performance and an intelligent script that combines raw human emotion with wit and existential dilemmas, the reputation of this film only continues to grow.

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Rear Window

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration109 mins

Rear Window(1954)

This Alfred Hitchcock thriller sees a reporter stuck in his apartment with a broken leg, and seeing suspicious activity out his window.

The films of Alfred Hitchcock, the “master of suspense” continues to enthral audiences today as much as they did more than fifty years ago. This is undoubtedly one of his most enjoyable, a superbly tense thriller that has influenced countless dramas since, a brilliant study of voyeurism and morality, that now reminds us of modern social media and reality television. 

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The Night of the Hunter

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

The Night of the Hunter(1955)

Darkly brilliant tale that sees a disguised ex-con hunt down a secret stash of money.

Sometimes films can leave us with a single, evocative image that we never forget. In this case, it is the words ‘love’ and ‘hate’ tattooed across the knuckles of ex-com Harry Powell. One of the greatest and most haunting of all American thrillers, a darkly brilliant tale of ever-present danger.

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Hero

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration95 mins

Hero(2002)

Visually stunning, amazingly choreographed martial arts film set in ancient China about a warlord in fear of his life as rulers plot against him.

This visually sumptuous martial arts masterpiece is a dazzling spectacle, with remarkable backdrops and genuinely stunning action. The film is a wonderful example of the medium being able to introduce us to and open up different cultures, beliefs and traditions in ways that are utterly unique.

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Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks)

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration93 mins

Hoje Eu Quero Voltar Sozinho (The Way He Looks)(2014)

Brazilian romantic drama about a blind student whose relationship with his best friend is threatened by the arrival of a handsome new boy in school.

This young love story from Brazil focusses on a blind teenager whose close bond with his best friend is disrupted when handsome new boy Gabriel arrives at their school. With the two boys taking their developing sexuality in their stride, the tentative exploration of romance is played out with excruciating accuracy, and the conclusion is one of quiet defiance.

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He Named Me Malala

CertPG

Age group11–16

Duration87 mins

He Named Me Malala(2015)

Inspirational documentary about equal education advocate Malala Yousafzai, the youngest ever recipient of the Nobel peace prize.

A film demonstrating the importance and value of education which follows the journey of Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai. Despite being shot and almost killed by the Taliban in 2012, she continues to speak out against the unjust lack of opportunities for schooling – particularly for girls – across the world. An inspiring documentary full of hope and determination.

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Little Women

CertU

Age group11+

Duration135 mins

Little Women(2019)

Adapted from the much-loved novel, four sisters grow up together in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

Director Greta Gerwig repositions this classic piece of American literature for a modern audience, taking the themes and characters of the original novel but changing the shape and structure to better reflect the times that we live in. A striking piece of narrative cinema packed to the brim with charismatic performances from its cast.

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Journey's End

Cert12

Age group11+

Duration108 mins

Journey's End(2017)

A group of young soldiers, led by an increasingly unstable Officer, await their fate in the trenches of France towards the end of World War One.

This big-screen adaptation of one of Britain’s most well-regarded plays by R.C. Sherriff takes a deep-dive into the psyche of soldiers stuck inside the trenches that came to define the First World War. An uncompromising look at the effects war can have on the individual, 'Journey’s End' is excellent as both a study of drama and history.

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The Farewell

CertPG

Age group11+

Duration100 mins

The Farewell(2019)

A Chinese-American family discover their grandmother is terminally ill and stage a fake wedding so they can all say goodbye without her finding out.

A film which, on the surface, seems like a very specific story but soon opens up into a rare but beautiful universal tale. Touching upon the way individuals are expected to embrace their roots despite the pressure of historical culture, it also manages to be a sharp, funny and brutally honest take on family and grief.

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A Little Grey

CertUnclassified

Age group11–16

Duration6 mins

A Little Grey(2016)

A man who feels isolated in a colourful world tries to get his spark back.

Very rarely are short films given the opportunity to be this complex and considered about mental health and the ways we can overcome the barriers that prevent us from turning negatives into positives. 'A Little Grey' is not only an important look at wellbeing but also a gorgeous and uniquely animated one.

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